Lessons from Costa Concordia and greener ships will be the headline subjects at Interferry’s 37th annual conference in Dubai from October 21-24 in a program focused on the safety, environmental, technical and commercial issues influencing global ferry development.
The trade association is expecting record attendance following a half-price fees offer from event hosts the Dubai Roads & Transport Authority for the first 250 delegates to register. By late June 124 registrations had been received – four times the norm for early bookings.
Interferry CEO Len Roueche said: “Industry-wide support has helped conference numbers to new heights in recent years, but more than anything the trend recognises that we have emerged as the ferry sector’s main voice for sustainable change in a challenging era.”
In the keynote address, IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee chairman Andreas Chrysostomou will review evolving ‘green’ regulations – together with additional insider updates from his role as Cyprus representative on the IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC).
The Costa Concordia feedback will come from special guest speaker Charles ‘Bud’ Darr, VP of technical and regulatory affairs at the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). Following the incident, CLIA urged an immediate operational safety review among its member companies. This prompted an IMO MSC circular encouraging similar action by all passenger ship operators. Interferry has passed this recommendation to its members even though some of the key findings do not apply to ferries.
As Roueche stresses: “Although ferries in the developed countries have a very good safety record over the past decade, it’s crucial to share all potentially helpful measures within our community in order to minimise the risk and regulatory consequences of a serious incident.”
Safety concepts will feature in a session on ship design innovation. Vince Jenkins, marine risk advisor at Lloyd’s Register, will highlight the benefits and pitfalls of risk-based design. Masanori Onsuka of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will describe a damage stability system developed for ferries, ro-ro vessels and car carriers that rapidly transfers floodwater to void spaces. Nippon Shipping has already ordered the first vessel to be equipped with the system. Dr Florian Kluwe of Germany’s Flensburger yard will also examine safer ro-pax designs in a paper on the application of dynamic stability criteria and cutting-edge subdivision.
Environmental initiatives will be addressed in a session on alternate fuels. This includes input from DNV Research & Innovation describing how the regional nature of most ferry operations leaves them well placed to secure energy supply by using alternatives produced from local feedstock. The paper will also explore the use of energy storage units to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions. Mike Corrigan, president & CEO of BC Ferries, will follow by explaining how western Canada’s oversupply of natural gas could help the company to halve its $120 million annual fuel bill by converting to LNG.
Among other sessions, IT specialists will join shipowners to present case studies on the commercial benefits of sophisticated reservations, revenue management and intermodality systems, while operators and academics will analyse current and long-term market trends and challenges.